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“Fantastic Stay - Great start to an amazing honeymoon”
Review of Kicheche Mara Camp

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Kicheche Mara Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Fantastic Stay - Great start to an amazing honeymoon”
Reviewed 1 November 2013

We recently stayed at the Kicheche Mara camp for the start of our honeymoon and loved every minute of it. When we landed at the airstrip in Mara North, we were greeted by our guide Benjamin (who was with us for the duration of our stay) and taken on a mini game drive on our way to camp.

Upon arrival at the camp, we were met by Sammy and Colin, who manage the camp along with members of their team who made our stay so memorable. Sammy and Colin both run the camp as though it is their own and it is amazing how much you feel like "part of the family" from the moment you arrive there. Nothing was ever too much trouble and being greeted personally by name on every encounter with a member of the team made it feel so personal.

The tents were brilliant and calling them standard tents (as it was described in our itinerary from the travel agents) does not do it justice. They are spacious, clean with a really comfortable bed, a little sofa to sit and hanging for clothes. I stayed in a lodge on my last safari and the tents at Kicheche Mara were far more plush than the room at the lodge was! It had electricity (lights), decent bathroom facilities with amenities and a hot water bucket shower. I did not know what to expect from the bucket shower but was surprised just how long the water actually lasted and if you wanted more water for a longer shower, someone was always at hand.

The food was wonderful and plentiful. Having thought we would be good and eat lightly in Masai, the food was that good that we could not resist all on offer! Even the picnics we took for breakfast on our game drives (we chose to have breakfast on the drives as opposed to leaving later or coming back earlier for breakfast) was lovely with fruits, breads, yoghurts, omelettes etc was great.

Moving on to the game drives, our guide Benjamin was excellent in giving us plenty of time to observe and photograph the animals we saw. This being my second safari, I was desperate to see a leopard, being the only big cat I never got to see last time round. On this safari, we got to see them all... lions, leopards, cheetahs. We were fortunate to see the big 5 and to top it off, we got to see a crocodile kill a zebra in the Mara river. Whilst gruesome, it was fascinating to see. Benjamin explained a great deal about the animals and also the way of life of the Masai people which all added to the amazing experience.

Our following destinations were Dubai and Maldives and at both, we stayed at top end hotels from the Jumeirah Group and Taj Group. Whilst both of these hotels were amazing and we loved them both, I would have to say the service and experience at Kicheche blew those two away.

I would happily recommend Kicheche Mara to anyone wishing to get the most amazing Safari experience. I hope to be able to visit the camp again but this time for longer.

Thank you to Sammy, Colin, Benjamin and every member of staff at Kicheche Mara for making the start of our honeymoon the most amazing experience you could imagine.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank RoopinM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 31 October 2013

My husband and I had the pleasure of staying at Kicheche for three nights this October as part of our honeymoon. Our stay was absolutely fantastic, and we both left with the promise that we'd come back some day. Over the past two years, we've visited nine other safari camps / lodges throughout S. Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania, and Kicheche ranks at the top of our list - it hit all of our key criteria - service, quality game viewing, knowledgeable guides/staff, warm and friendly environment, well-appointed tents (also very clean), delicious food (thank you, Dixon and team for our memorable dinners!), and beautiful scenery. We stayed in the lovely Mamba (crocodile) tent, and enjoyed our daily visits from the grazing zebras, wildebeest and a resident hippo.

On top of the above-mentioned factors, our entire stay really felt like a personalized experience due to the friendliness / attentiveness of the staff. A lot of credit goes to the current camp management - they really set the tone throughout the entire camp. Colin and Sammy were by far the best managers we have encountered and their hospitality and warmth made us feel welcome and at home in the Mara. As hosts, they also do an incredible job of connecting / linking everyone who is visiting the camp - communal mealtimes and get-togethers were so much fun in large part due to Colin/Sammy breaking the ice - conversation flowed and there were lots of laughs.

In regards to Mara North, I echo Fiona G.'s sentiment about staying in Mara North versus the National Reserve. While my husband and I very much enjoyed the one day we visited the Reserve, we both agreed that we found Mara North to be much more impressive and visually stunning. From a game viewing perspective, we saw some incredible sights - large schools of hippos sleeping in the Mara River, the Acacia lion pride of +20 lions, lions attacking a hippo out of water, leopards walking around in the open, etc.

Our experienced and friendly guide, Jimmy, was incredibly knowledgeable and seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to anticipating animal movement. Jimmy was also very attentive to positioning our truck at the best angles for viewing game in sight - something my camera-wielding husband really appreciated. We also appreciated the fact that Jimmy really seemed to know the best spots to enjoy both animals and gorgeous scenery - we'll never forget the evening he raced to a specific open area he had in mind to show us the most gorgeous sunset. My only comment in regards to Jimmy's style is that we wish he had talked a little more about the animals. Any time he offered insight at various animal viewings, we were always blown away by his fascinating facts / observations - it's obvious that he has a wealth of knowledge about all types of game and their behavior. That being said, he showed us some amazing sights that we will never forget, and we thoroughly enjoyed each game drive.

Thank you again to Kicheche for making our honeymoon so memorable. We will be visiting again...

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank valerie c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 October 2013

We had the most incredible 4 days at Kicheche Mara this October - all 8 of us! Sammy and Colin were fantastic - full of insights, up for a chat and a drink or two, always hospitable and accommodating. The tents were perfect - every little detail was considered. Our guides Duncan and Benja were so great - a wealth of knowledge and great sense of humour. All of the staff were wonderful, from the room attendants to Mess staff. Fred, Hudson and Nelson looked after us and knew everyone's names, even for only a 4 day stay. We even played a game of soccer with the camp soccer team (a bad idea in hindsight - we were not very well acclimatised to the heat or the elevation and they put us to shame)! The food was amazing - the best we had in Africa. I absolutely could not fault this stay - everything planned with such attention to detail - from the morning wake up call, to the beautiful showers, and the ponchos in the trucks.
And that's before we even get to the wildlife. The setting was divine. We saw so much activity, from a whole pride of lions complete with cubs, leopards in trees, cheetahs, lots of elephants with mischievous babies, giraffes and zebras - a baby was even born at the camp! Baboons and wildebeast everywhere, plenty of gazelles. The park was green and alive with birds and scurring furry things. Everyone humoured us with our rudimentary swahili and we had lots of chances to test it out.
Thanks so much for an amazing time. Completely MADE our trip!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Lara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2013

I rarely write reviews. It isn't until you come somewhere like this that you realise you aren't feeling compelled to write anything for mediocre experiences. This is somewhat different.

We arrived (late) on our bush flight from Nairobi and were collected by our guide, Jimmy. More on Jimmy later. When we arrived at camp (about 45-60 awe-inspiring minutes later), Sammy and Colin were there to greet us and take us up to camp. We'd missed lunch but had food brought out to us and offered drinks. Just what we needed after a bumpy and sweaty ride on plane and jeep. With profuse apologies (with absolutely no need) for the quick turnaround, off we went on our first afternoon's drive.

You get one morning drive (roughly 6:30am - 12pm) with breakfast in an amazing location, followed by lunch outside with the rest of the visitors, then siesta until 3.30-4pm, when you set out on your afternoon drive, complete with sundowners. Driving back in the dark just adds another dimension to your experience - something I understand not all the camps and lodges do. After a quick freshen up, it's back up to the main tents for drinks around the camp fire and dinner, before more drinks and bed.

Tent - we were in Kongoni, one of the nearest to the camp entrance and the main tents. The tent itself is well laid out (we had a family tent, so two twin beds we used for bags, clothes, general dumping ground) with a bed in the middle of the room and the bathroom at the back. We were warned about the bucket showers but I don't think we ran out of water and one night, when I was faffing about too much, they refilled the bucket in case it had gone cold. You do need to keep the zips shut at all times though - from a bug, bushbaby and monkey perspective - which is a pity but it's better than being eaten alive or being mugged by a monkey. We were pre-warned about the bush babies using the tent as a trampoline and, sure enough, it was quite noisy at night. However, each of the tents have their quirks and I'd rather an exuberant bush baby having a jump about than the tent who had the amorous hippos outside! The camp is not fenced off, so you do have animals wandering through the camp, especially at night. A highlight for us was a family of zebra hanging out at our tent as we walked back from dinner one night. A word on after dark - you will have a guard with you at all times when it's dark and you're wandering about. Just to be on the safe side.

Food and drinks - it starts with your wake up call: hot drinks of your choice and biscuits. Breakfast out is fantastic and even enabled us to introduce our American jeep-mates to Marmite overlooking a hippo pool...! Lunch is a fantastic buffet (anything from bobotie to asian-spiced noodle salad. Desserts come with every meal, as does tea and coffee. Sundowners out on your drive come with snacks (always yummy) and then dinner is generally an informal sit-down 3 course dinner. Many people said they didn't expect to come away from a tented camp after 3/4 nights one dress size larger, but I think we all feared it! I had an allergy and it was carefully noted and I was brought a different dessert at lunch one day - fantastic.

Guides - our guide was Jimmy, a chap who clearly loves his job and the animals. He was great for anticipating animal movements ("He's going to yawn - get ready!") and getting the jeep into the best possible place to watch from. We saw just about everything it is possible to see, only narrowly missing a few kills. The timing was bad for the migration, but we still saw a group of stupid zebra cross the Mara River three times... My only thought about Jimmy was that while he was fantastic at knowing the usual places to see the animals and for listening out on the radio for great sightings to get us there, he seemed stumped at the times when the other jeeps had gone back to camp (on the two occasions we stayed out longer) and the sightings were more lean. Having said that, we had the most amazing few days with him and he showed us some great animals and birds. We knew we were seeing something special when Jimmy got his camera out!

Staff and service - impeccable. The mains staff knew our names and would bring personality and friendliness to their professional service. Colin and Sammy, the current managers, deserve special mention. Nothing was too much, they were so knowledgeable, friendly and organised, and they absolutely contributed to making this camp so special. They arranged a private dinner for us on our final night, which was magical up until the point we got freaked out at a large moving shape near us (a buffalo it turned out) so we scarpered back into our tent.

It's worth recapping on why you should come to a camp in a conservancy rather than the National Reserve. Firstly, you can go to the Mara NR - it's a fully day out but we did it and it was great. The conservancy is an area leased from the local people with the purpose of protecting the landscape and animals. The animals can come and go as they please - they don't know about the arbitrary line drawn on a map - so you see what you'd see in the NR. Secondly, there are restricted numbers of camps and vehicles in the conservancy, and restricted (and regulated) numbers of jeeps allowed at any one sighting. This is not the case in the NR and you can quite easily find yourself at a sighting in the NR with 10+ jeeps. Not ideal. Finally, the conservancy works directly with the local people - meaning a partnership that is more sustainable for all concerned.

I cannot recommend this camp highly enough and we do plan to return at some stage.

Room Tip: Each room has it's own quirks for animals. If you'd prefer to not have too long a walk (max...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Fiona G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bracknell
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed 20 October 2013

We had such a great time in February 2007, we came back and it was as good, if not better than we remembered. Hosts, Sammy and Colin were great, food excellent. The situation of the camp in an acacia valley is lovely - you can view the wildlife from your tent!

Our guide George was expert at spotting wildlife and selecting the best spot for photos. We had a memorable day in the Mara reserve and saw a male lion being chased by buffalo and two zebras crossing the Mara River. An exciting morning walk watching elephants, giraffe and a jackal, followed by a hyena and a baboon, chasing a baby thompson gazelle (it escaped).

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Lynda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 October 2013

Spent 2 nights at Kicheche Mara in early Oct 2013. It was our first safari experience in the Maasai Mara and we couldn't believe how many animals we saw in just 48 hours (many just on our journey to the camp from the airstrip!) and this was all thanks to our excellent safari guide - George. All the camp staff were very welcoming and the tents were surprisingly luxurious - we got quite used to our daily bush showers, although not so used to some of our night-time wildlife visitors (all part of the safari experience!) The food was very good and the evening meal always came with a thought of the day from Michael. Camp managers - Colin and Sammy - were very good hosts and made evenings round the camp fire and dinner table entertaining.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jo_Rich2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge UK
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2013

Spent 3 nights at Kicheche Mara in late July 2103, probably the best camp we have ever stayed at in Kenya (out of 6). Maybe we were lucky as the camp was only half full but Colin and Sammy, the managers were excellent hosts, cheerful, helpful, knowledgeable, caring and involved. The camp staff were so good, knew our names immediately and gave first class friendly service at all times. The accommodation - tents - was fine, the bucket bush showers worked well, the food was first class, and nice that Sammy and Colin ate with us all the time. We had 2 grandchildren, aged 13 and 11, with us, and they were so well looked after

Our guide, Jimmy was also first class; we nicknamed him 'Jimmy Two Kill' because on one day he led us to watch 2 cheetahs kill a wildebeest and then a lioness play with and kill a gazelle, as well as a fascinating 30 mins watching the Acacia Lion pride. He is very knowledgeable, always seemed to find the best place to park to watch the game, being also sensitive to make sure other vehicles (if there were any, because he was usually first on the scene) had a good view and weren't in our sights

So much quieter to be based in a conservancy than the crowded Mara National Park, but game still very good. Found nothing to fault in our stay.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank 735Roger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kicheche Mara Camp

Property: Kicheche Mara Camp
Address: Acacia valley, Mara North Conservancy, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #28 of 139 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Class:4 star — Kicheche Mara Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our bush hideaway welcomes you to a different world, centered at the heart of the African wilderness. Experiencing a traditional luxury camp is a must on safari and, with Kicheche, one that is intimate, secluded and in an area surrounded by prolific wildlife. Staying in a bush camp doesn't mean compromising on comfort, the food and service are first class, as are the warmth and experience of Kicheche's staff making your safari an unforgettable experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kicheche Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Kicheche Mara Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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